Tuesday, July 25, 2017

2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge: July Wrap Up

Time for our seventh Monthly Wrap Up for the 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the June Wrap Up, Holly hasn't finished any series enders this month. Sandy finished A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 3) by Sarah J Maas.

  1. Please make sure we have a valid email address or other means of contacting you if you choose to participate. Linking up to Goodreads is perfectly fine, but we have found that Goodreads is not a reliable source for contacting someone should you be selected as one of the monthly giveaway winners. This could be due to your Goodreads notification settings or Goodreads themselves could be at fault. We're not sure which. And since we want to make sure that everyone who is eligible for one of the giveaways will receive their prize should they win one month or the grand prize at the end of the year, it is up to you to ensure that we can contact you and that you respond within a reasonable amount of time (usually stated in the email notifying you of your winning).
  2. While the challenge and giveaways are open internationally, please make sure that you can receive e-gift cards via Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. Again, we want to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and to receive the prizes. Please remember that Holly and I are funding the giveaways out of our own pockets as something that we want to do, and we would like to continue to do so.
Which series enders did you finish? Link up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the July giveaway runs from July 25th - August 25th. On August 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Monday, July 24, 2017

How to Save a Life - Review

How to Save a Life (Dreamcatcher #1)

By: Emma Scott

Published: February 9, 2016 by Trillian

274 pages

Genre: New Adult, Romance, Paranormal

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Josephine Clark is trapped. A harrowing past haunts her every time she looks in the mirror, and she can’t escape the violence of her everyday life. More and more, her thoughts turn to Evan Salinger, the boy she knew in high school. The boy they called a mental case. A loner. A freak. The boy who seemed to know things no one could know. For a few short weeks, Jo had found perfect solace in Evan’s company, sneaking every night to meet him at the local pool. In the cool of the water and the warmth of Evan’s arms around her, Jo had tasted something close to happiness. 

Cruel circumstances tore them apart, and four years later, the sweet memory of their time together is dissolving under the punishing reality of Jo’s life now. Evan seems like a fading dream…until he reappears at the moment she needs him most. Guided by Evan’s strange intuition, they flee her small Louisiana town, on the run from the police, and Jo begins to suspect there is something more to his sudden return than he admits. 

Over twelve days across America’s heartland, deep secrets come to light, buried pasts are unearthed, and the line between dreams and reality is blurred as Evan and Jo fight to hold on to their soul-deep love, and discover that there is more than one way to save a life. 

How to Save a Life is a complete second-chance STANDALONE novel with shades of the paranormal. It carries the characters from high school through to their early twenties. It is not YA; mature subject matter and sexual situations. TRIGGER WARNING: some domestic violence (on the page) and mentions of sexual abuse (off the page) For readers 18 years and up.
This was maybe the 4th book I've read by Emma Scott. Having loved Full Tilt, All InThe Butterfly Project I was expecting great things! Perhaps I built up my expectations too high because I was disappointed with this one. Let me explain why.

First off...this story deals with both sexual and physical abuse. The sexual abuse is not explained in detail, only in vague memories from the past. The reader is spared what could have been graphic details on that, for which I'm thankful. Secondly, this story is pretty much as close to insta-love as you can get. I don't normally cringe with insta-love stories but this one felt forced to me.

The story begins with Josephine at a new high school, her senior year, only a few weeks away from graduation. Her parents are both dead at the start of the story and her uncle is her legal guardian. As a trucker they move around a lot. So much so, that she's never in any one place long enough to form any kind of meaningful relationship. Due to a rather noticable scar on her face she often gets labled quickly in the new schools so she gives them something to label her for. At this new school though, the school freak has already been bestowed upon another student. A very handsome, tall, blonde, muscular guy, who by appearance alone doesn't look like a freak. Everyone warns her to keep her distance from Evan Salinger though.

Evan is adopted into the Salinger family where 2 of his adopted brothers are verbally and physically abusive to him. They hate him. His younger adopted brother is the one bright spot in the situation in which he finds himself. Evan is the school freak. After some time spent in a mental hospital his peers do not let him escape that which he views as a gift. See, Evan has dreams that are pictures of events that are soon to happen but he doesn't remember the details of the dream until right before it happens. Basically, he is clairvoyant. One time seeing a shooting where a classmate's father dies, and he freaks out during class, sets all of his classmates against him.

Only 30% in to the story, without a whole lot of interaction, to be exact ONE conversation, between Jo and Evan, he calls her "sweetness". This definitely made me cringe and gag a little bit. I don't know many 17/18 year old boys who would call their girl interest this term of endearment. Baby or Babe is more common for sure. But after ONE conversation? Um....no.

The story jumps ahead, after it's first tragedy, by 4 years. Jo is living in Louisiana and finds herself in another horrible situation. Living with a guy who is physically abusive and is a meth head. This girl either has some terrible luck or she just downright makes horrible decisions! When she is most scared for her life, Jo breathes into the air for Evan to come find her and save her. She doesn't fully understand or believe it'll work but she is running out of time. Once he shows up in that strange way of his, the story takes them on the run from the police. At 90% through I didn't know how the story was going to finish in time but knowing it was a standalone (but part 1 in a series...if that makes much sense) I kept waiting for resolution. Of which it finally comes and I was pleased with the ending.

In the Kindle version I read there were a whole lot of grammatical errors; incorrect usage of words; missing words; misspelled words. This always makes me feel "meh" especially when it's a published book that I paid for.

Though older age Young Adult's are sure to enjoy this one, it does fall more in the New Adult realm of content and age.

Top Favorite Quotes:
"That's the majestic, terrible beauty of a rumor. It doesn't have to be true for it to spread."

Something about sitting in a guy's truck and watching him drive with masculine expertise was such a turn-on.

You're never stuck anywhere if you have a good book.

"You are my life. You're in the marrow of my bones, Jo. In my dreams, my future, every particle of me."

Language: 2 (medium)
Mature Content: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Post #117

Sunday Post is a weekly post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
Each week bloggers participate to share any books received and news from their week.

Click on the book cover to be taken to its Goodreads page.




Things are getting back to normal. Daughter's ankle is still not 100% but the orthopedic appointment and (second) xray this week showed no fracture. With a strong anti-inflammatory and strict instructions to work her ankle and strengthen it with PT exercises, she's walking with a brace and slowly getting back the activities she enjoys most!

Band camp starts for my oldest this week. 8:00-5:00 all week for two weeks. It's a tiring time for him but he LOVES it! I can't believe we are 5 Friday's away from the start of high school football games! It's one of our most favorite seasons of the year!!

In other news, after 15 years of being a stay-at-home mom and then a Nanny for the last nearly 5 of those years, I'm going back to work outside of the home as a school secretary in less than 2 weeks. This is a new transition for our family and for my kids. They've never known me to work outside the home. We were blessed for me to be available for them 24/7 since their birth. It's bitter sweet, and a bit scary but I believe it is a God-approved decision as we have been praying over this decision and job position for 3 months and the path has been smooth and has worked out effortlessly. I will have school holiday's off and summer's off and my hours will be such that I can still take my kids to school and pick them up AND not miss any of my daughter's sporting events or my son's marching events. I honestly could not have asked for a better situation if I have to go back to work. I'm sure for a time my reading time will seriously be cut in to, which may make my blogging less than it is now. But I'll still be around.

You can now join us for our 4th annual Series Enders Reading Challenge for 2017! Join anytime until December 15, 2017. We give away a gift card EVERY month to one lucky participant and we award a GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. The more series enders book reviews you link up - the more entries you have to win. Come join us!

Enjoy your week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

*ARC* The Sound of Light - Review

The Sound of Light

By: Claire Wallis

Published: July 17, 2017

320 pages

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult

Source: ebook, ARC from author

(Goodreads / Amazon)

My littlest girl has always been a bit peculiar. It was nothing I could ever put a finger on, but I always knew there was something inside her that made her a different kind of special. A deeper kind. 

K'acy's got a light around her, one that'll just about knock you over, especially if you don't see her coming. She's got music in her soul, too. Deep, resonating music that echoes and hums, just like the notes that come from the bass guitar she's had attached to her hip since the day she turned thirteen years old. 

She's got a heck of a secret, yes, but she does what she's got to do to make it one worth having. She takes care of people. She changes their stories. I spent my life telling both of my girls that you always gotta do what's right, even when it hurts, and it makes me proud to know she was listening. 

I saw the way she looked at that boy on the day they met, and I knew right then that things were going to change. Two different people from two different worlds is nothing but a recipe for heartbreak, and when the lies pile higher and higher, it can change a person into something they're not. 

It took me dying all those years ago to finally figure out just exactly how special my K'acy really is, and even though I'm not with her anymore, I don't want that boy and his family to change her. I want her to keep doing what's right, even when it hurts. 

Because that's who she is inside. That's her deeper kind of special. 

**This stand-alone novel from Claire Wallis is intended for readers age 17 and up.**
So this was much different than the previous two books I had read by Wallis. Push and Pull. Check those out too! Where those books started out pretty intense and kept me on my toes, this book is more laid back and chill and had a much slower build. The POV felt a bit all over the place if I'm being honest. It was definitely unique in that it bounces back and forth between the main character K'acy, her dead father George, and various former residents at the nursing home where she works, all right before they died. I wasn't sure how to feel about the POV's going back and forth, both in time and between people. At times I felt like I could see why that was inserted, but at other times I felt like it took away from the overall plot of the book. It's fair to say that by the end of the story it all wraps up together to make more sense.

Here's what you need to know. K'acy is a bassist in a local Philadelphia funk band that plays around town a couple nights a week. She also works at a nursing home called Pine Manor as an aide. She has an interesting connection with seeing death in someone's eyes, seeing when death is near and how much they'll suffer. So in that you could say there's a supernatural aspect to the story. K'acy is extremely warm, kind, and nurturing to the elderly patients. She decides to use her gift as a way to bring comfort to those that many have otherwise forgotten about. It doesn't matter how they lived their life or what their story was before, even if they weren't a "good" person...she just knows she has to be there for them now for their ending. To be the one to show compassion and offer a sense of forgiveness. She seems to have a bit of a savior mentality but perhaps without the arrogance. Though it struck me that there's some delusion in her thinking of using her gift to an extreme. You'll have to read the story to find out more.

Her favorite patient at Pine Manor is Ms. Sinclair, who has alzheimer's. In her six years working at Pine Manor, she has never seen any family members visit Ms. Sinclair. The only person Ms. Sinclair talks about is someone named "Bradley". Knowing how the minds of alzheimer patients work though, she could be referring to someone from her own childhood, or her husband or son, etc... No one can say for sure. Until one day a man shows up to see her named Adam. Adam and K'acy eventually form a friendship which leads to a deeper connection. Though K'acy has been warned to not develop relationships with patients or their families, she throws caution to the wind and proceeds to follow her heart and not her head...or the advice of her co-workers.

As in any good contemporary romance, there are always secrets. In this story there are definitely secrets both of Adam and of K'acy. Secrets are a recipe for disaster. My one major downside, I didn't feel as though I could relate very much to K'acy and because of that I didn't connect to the romance between her and Adam. For me, it just didn't quite hit my "feels" buttons.

Top 5 Favorite Quotes:
...where you come from or how much money you have in your wallet is not what makes you special. Cause special comes from the inside. Special comes from doing the right thing, every time. Every. Time. Without excuses or regrets.

"Life's too short for rainchecks."

"Black or white or pink or yellow or upside down and inside out, K'acy McGee - this is going to sound a hundred-and-one kinds of cheesy - but everything about you is right."

To be loved is a far more significant thing than anything else in this world, and to be loved by someone who doesn't share your blood is something to be treasured even more. Because that kind of love isn't given. It's earned.

Hearing someone means letting them give you a piece of their soul through a story or a thought. It doesn't mean you have to fix something, it just means you have to open your ears and your heart and try to understand who they are on the inside.

Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Post #116

Sunday Post is a weekly post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
Each week bloggers participate to share any books received and news from their week.

Click on the book cover to be taken to its Goodreads page.

After last week's haul, I think a week off with no new books was VITAL!




Thank you for the well wishes for my daughter's ankle injury and for the birthday wishes for me last Sunday! As an update on her, her volleyball coach asked me on Thursday if the school trainer could take a look at it. So we met with her after volleyball camp (which my daughter went to support her teammates even though she herself could not participate). Long story much shorter, her recommendation was for us to have it re-xray'ed. Basically her assessment was that 2 weeks post injury her ankle shouldn't still be as swollen as it was or as tender in so many places. So we have an appointment with an Orthopedic Sports Med Dr early Monday morning. We are praying there's no fracture and that she can start to put weight on it and begin to walk. I will say hearing what she had to say finally put a fire under my daughter to begin icing it in a bucket of ice water twice a day as her Daddy had been gently encouraging her to do...but his advice had gone unheeded. Since Thursday, this icing method has made the remaining swelling nearly go away and she's been able to do her PT exercises. 

Over the weekend my birthday celebration continued with my second family, my in-law's. We spent Saturday swimming and eating and enjoying being together. I'm super thankful for my in-law parents and siblings (one of which is Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know)!! Being in their family for 20 years has been a blessing! 

This is the last week of summer that we will have "off". It's called dead week for sports at my kids school so daughter has no practices and my son has a week off before two weeks of band camp begins.

You can now join us for our 4th annual Series Enders Reading Challenge for 2017! Join anytime until December 15, 2017. We give away a gift card EVERY month to one lucky participant and we award a GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. The more series enders book reviews you link up - the more entries you have to win. Come join us!

Enjoy your week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: Say You'll Remember Me

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Wishful Endings.
Each week bloggers participate to spotlight and discuss a book they have yet to read, generally one that hasn't released yet. Can't Wait Wednesday is based on Waiting on Wednesday, previously hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm waiting on:

Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry
Expected Publication: January 30, 2018 by Harlequin Teen
Preorder Buy Link: Amazon
When Drix was convicted of a crime--one he didn't commit--he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor's newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor's daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn't may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle's parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix's messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can't imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves--Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence--and each other to finally get what they deserve.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Long Way Home - Review

Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3)

By: Katie McGarry

Published: January 31, 2017 by Harlequin Teen

448 pages

Source: Kindle version, Borrowed from Sandy

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.
Just a week ago I reviewed the digital sampler of Long Way Home that I had received from Netgalley. The next two paragraphs below were recaps from that review here.

Violet is the daughter of a Reign of Terror motorcycle club member who was killed. Ever since his death she has been convinced that the club is the reason he died and she wants nothing to do with it, or with her now ex-boyfriend, Chevy, who at 18 will become a prospect and eventually patch in to the club as well. It's not a life she wants for herself, her mom or her brother. She does everything she can to avoid the Reign of Terror, even though her heart still loves Chevy.

One night her car breaks down and she and her brother are stranded alone to figure out who to call to help them. None other than Chevy drives up on his motorcycle. Before Chevy can do much to help her, a rival club called The Riot, come driving up, and through force, kidnap both Chevy and Violet. The Riot is involved in illegal activity and don't have any morals when it comes to the treatment of them. Locked in a dark room with no way out, Violet only has Chevy to depend on for safety...however their safety is an illusion because she knows, even though he promises he will do what he can to protect her, that they are in a very dangerous situation.

What transpires from there is blackmailing of Violet from the Riot to get revenge they feel is owed to them. The problem is that she doesn't trust the Reign of Terror or the Riot and is really put between a rock and a hard place. It seems no matter which path she chooses, someone will get hurt and someone, or likely more than one person, will be betrayed.

This series is cleaner than most Young Adult series dealing with the same or similar storylines. There are still a fair number of F bombs and other mature language throughout the story but graphic content is minimal.

Check out my reviews for the earlier books:

Book one, Nowhere But Here (5 stars)
Book two, Walk the Edge (4.5 stars)

I've enjoyed this series and highly recommend it for those who enjoy motorcyle clubs, hot guys in motorcycle clubs, or just hot guys. The one thing I enjoyed about Violet in this story is that she doesn't want to depend on a man to do things or to feel secure. She wants to be strong enough to protect herself and her brother and to face challenges without the Rein of Terror coming in to "save the day". However...there are instances when being a female can be a downside. Violet has to learn to be strong and yet trust and depend on Chevy more than she has allowed herself to in the past.

Top 5 Favorite Quotes:
Days like today I wish I could go back and slap the girl I was in high school. Tell her to take school more seriously. Tell her to take the advanced math course over the basic. Tell her that boys weren't the answer, but really the problem.

She's always been a ferocious storm, but her bursts of anger were like short downdrafts that could do damage but then quickly recede. She had the temper of a child, but now she shines with a light that only comes with maturity, with growing up, and before me is a gorgeous warrior holding her head high as she readies for battle.

Sometimes it takes a woman to do a job men can't accomplish.

"No matter which way this plays out, I promise to love you and do my best to make sure whatever path we go down together or separatley will be the one that hurts you the least."

"We're like fireworks, Violet. Beautiful separate, but phenomenal when put together. Of course, you can't have all of that without a few explosions."

Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 4 stars
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